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Seal Beach Readies for Big Waves, Flood Threat

City staffers say they are prepared in case the combination of high tide, rain and large swells cause problems.

A storm over the Pacific Ocean will bring waves as high as 10 feet to Orange County, the National Weather Service predicted Tuesday morning.

However, Seal Beach is ready for it, city officials said Tuesday.

A large west swell is expected to hit Seal Beach and other surrounding beach communities Thursday morning through Saturday. Tides are expected to peak during the mid-morning hours at about 6-feet, and rains are expected on and off in Seal Beach throughout the weekend with a 70 percent chance of rain for Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Officials expect the sand berm to hold up to the storm, but they are also arming residents with sandbags in case of unanticipated flooding.

Sean Crumby, assistant city manager, said high tide, a large swell and rain is the weather "trifecta" that can lead to flooding, but “I don’t think that any of its going to be that extreme.”

However, Crumby adds ”if so, we’re ready for it.”

Every year, the city has a sand berm constructed to protect beachside houses on the low-lying southeast side of the pier from winter flooding.

“We’re prepared for storms every winter,” he said Crumby. “We’ve been dealing with this for the whole history of the city, and our staff is seasoned and ready to respond to situations if the need arises.”

In recent memory ocean water hasn't gone over the berm, but about three years ago it did go around it, said Crumby.

While there is the possibility that surf could up to 10 feet in some Orange County areas, Joe Bailey, city marine safety chief, said “there are a lot of factors involved, and this swell for Seal Beach is not expected be anywhere near that because of the angle of the swell." 

“I expect we’re going to get some decent surf out of it, but I’m not expecting to have any problem in Seal Beach,” Bailey added.

However, in case there is a problem, the city will be providing sandbags at the 8th Street Parking Lot northwest of the pier, at the Seal Beach Fire Department at 211 8th Street at the Naval Weapons Station Liberty Gate on Seal Beach Boulevard, and at the Public Works Yard on 1776 Adolfo Lopez Drive.  

Bailey advises people to call the Lifeguard headquarters at 562-430-2613 with any questions and to confirm that bags have been distributed before heading out to pick them up. 

Regardless of what happens, Bailey urges locals to sign up for Nixle, which the city uses to important messages to residents through emails or cell phones.

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